Watchers (1988)

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Connections: Watchers

A boy takes in a stray dog, later discovering that it is an ultra-intelligent runaway being stalked by a dangerous creature from the same genetic research lab. --IMDb
Michael Ironside
Michael Ironside
Christopher Cary
Christopher Cary
Graeme Campbell
Graeme Campbell
Dan O'Dowd
Dan O'Dowd
Lala Sloatman
Lala Sloatman
Review by bluemeanie
Added: April 03, 2006
Based on the novel by Dean R. Koontz, "Watchers" is his pseudo-entry into the whole werewolf genre, even though the creature here is not a werewolf. The film deals with two animals -- a Golden Retriever who was designed to be almost as intelligent as humans, and a creature designed to be the perfect weapon. However, something happened and the creatures developed an unhealthy hatred of the dogs. When an explosion at the research facility unleashes one of the dogs and one of the creatures, the hunt ensues. The dog is picked up by a rebellious teen, Travis (Corey Haim) and taken home, much to the dismay of his typical horror movie mother, Nora (Barbara Williams). The family, however, soon find that they are being hunted, both by the creature and by an N.S.O. agent (Michael Ironside) who has been called in to track down the dog and the creature and make sure that there are no witnesses left to talk about either. "Watchers" boils down to a standoff at an old cabin in the woods, where the boy and the dog must fight the agent and the creature in a booby-trap manner very akin to "Home Alone", one gadget at a time.

This is classic 1980's cheese. We get everything, from the amazingly synthetic music to the stock sound effects to the impeccably rotten dialogue. We get 80's superstar Corey Haim trying to smile his way through the entire flick -- that kid kept his mouth agape more than a Mormon at a titty bar. And, what's with the hair. He looks like he was dropped on a live wire. The acting is also typical 80's acting, with Barbara Williams actually trying to give a serious performance, which only makes it worse. And, good old Michael Ironside as the villainous N.S.O. goes as over-the-top as possible and has all the fun in the world doing it -- it is always a pleasure to watch him let loose, very much like Dennis Hopper. When they're given a role, by God, they make the most of it, good or bad. I especially enjoyed Ironside's attempts at humor throughout the film.

For all the things wrong with this film, it entertains the hell out of me. I remember when I use to watch this film all the time when I was younger. It use to be one of my favorite films, back when quality didn't mean as much to me. It's like "Man's Best Friend" meets "Bingo", or something like that. The coolest scene in the film comes when Corey Haim chases the creature out into the woods and we finally get to see its face and where most of the budget probably went on this film. Don't you love horror films that cost about five million to make and spend over half on one creature effect or special effect? In this case, it was worth it. "Watchers" is an entertaining 80's flick, with very little horror, and more popkorn factor than anything else. It's worth checking out on DVD, even though the original negatives of the film were lost in the New Horizons fire and all the DVD turns out to be is a video transfer. A little grainy, but still worthwhile. As for as 80's horror goes, you could do much, much worse than this. 6.5/10.
Chad #1: Chad - added 04/03/2006, 04:28 AM
Excellent book, wasn't aware that they made it into a movie. Going to have to give this one a rental sometime.
Crispy #2: Crispy - added 04/17/2006, 04:03 PM
It was an excellent book, and from the review I'm a bit leary of watching it...
Chad #3: Chad - added 06/15/2009, 08:57 AM
I finally checked it out, just a short while after my last comment. Yeah, the movie was damned cheesy and didn't come close to living up to the novel, but it wasn't horrible. Not great, mind you, but not bad either. 5/10.
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